Updated: Aug 4
Welcome to the Managing Depression Naturally Series.
As someone that has personally experienced depression and has learned to manage it, I am proud to present you this series, in the hope that it will help you in your journey toward managing your depression naturally.
In this post, I'm going to focus on your Physical Health and its impact on your mental health. You're going to learn:
What depression is
How your physical health dictates your mental health
Ways to Improve your mental health through physical health
I'd like to take this time to mention that I am not a health professional nor mental health professional. Everything in this post is strictly from my own personal experience. Before making any decisions or changes regarding your health, always consult your doctor and mental health professional.
What IS Depression?
Depression is defined as a mood disorder that featured prolonged feelings of extreme sadness and lethargy, as well as a loss of interest in things you’d normally enjoy. It’s not something you can typically see in someone, but it is intense, and to those who experience it, it’s just downright awful.
In order to be diagnosed with depression, you must experience 5 of the following symptoms for a continuous period of 14 days or more:
Prolonged feelings of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness
Loss of interest in things you’d typically enjoy
Irritable, angry moods
Significant body/weight change
Change in sleep
Self-hating feelings, worthlessness
If you or someone you love has experienced these feelings, consult a doctor
If you’re struggling with these symptoms, call the mental health hotline +1 855-674-3304
I’ve suffered from depression for most of my life. It hasn't been easy, and I still have my bad days from time to time, but through the right methods, medication, and many years of working on it, I am finally coping with my depression. I know in my heart that you can too!
You’re reading this, which means you want it, and that’s the biggest part. You have to be motivated to beat it! Depression isn’t something you can cure yourself of totally, but with the right methods, support from your doctor and loved ones, and the motivation to get better, YOU CAN MANAGE YOUR DEPRESSION.
As I said, you should always talk to your doctor FIRST about managing your depression, but if you want to find some natural solutions, read these tips on How To Manage Your Depression Naturally!
1. A Healthy Diet:
We already know that foods like fish and eggs are good for brain health, but did you know that you can boost your dopamine levels with a healthy diet? Dopamine is the chemical in your brain that triggers happy emotions, improving your mood.
Eating more fruits and nuts, as well as lean meats like fish and chicken can actually increase your dopamine levels naturally, therefore helping you cope better with depression.
Caffeine and processed sugars only give you a short boost of energy, leaving you feeling worse, in the end. You may think it’s helping, but it only makes your depression worse, in the long run. The naturally occurring sugars in fruits actually give your body the pure sugars it needs that break it down easier, and turn into natural energy.
2. Quitting Smoking and Substance Abuse:
Like caffeine and sugar, smoking, alcohol, and drugs give you a very short “pick me up”. This is only a placebo for dopamine, it’s not real dopamine. Again, it only makes things worse in the end.
To put it scientifically, when you use drugs and alcohol or smoke, your body is affected by the fake dopamine. Your real dopamine levels get been affected by the spurt of fake dopamine. It tries to balance out and depletes. When the substance is gone, you naturally want more to make up for the depletion of dopamine. That, my friends, is addiction.
If you or someone you love struggles with addiction, call the Addition Hotline 800-662-HELP (4357)
Ugh, I know. I said it. Getting up and moving.
I know that the LAST thing you want to do when you’re struggling with depression is exercise. I’ve been there. However, exercise is one of the best-proven methods to boost your dopamine levels naturally and manage depression better.
Having any kind of daily routine and daily structure will help you get through even the bad days. If you want to learn how to create a routine that you’ll actually stick to, read my Routine Rundown here [link to post]
Exercise doesn’t have to be physically exerting like hours of weightlifting or running a marathon. It can be as simple as taking a walk or if you don’t feel like leaving the house, try a ten-minute yoga session or some squats.
Start with something simple, and build on that.
4. Natural Supplements
Natural supplements can be beneficial to your depression management as well. Supplements such as Ginseng, Chamomile, Lavender, and Omega 3 are all well known to aid the management of depression, stress, and other health issues as well.
St John’s Wort does aid in the management of anxiety and depression, but this one will cause side effects when taken with antidepressants.
Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements or vitamins. Some supplements cause side effects when taken with certain medications.
As you can see, there are many important roles that your physical health plays in your mental health.
What will you do to improve your physical and mental health today?
To get you started, here are some journal prompts to get you thinking about your health!
Stick around for the next part of the Managing Depression Naturally Series!
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Until next time!